Saturday, March 30, 2013

Letter: Fire sprinklers can make homes safer


 A 2010 fire sprinkler demonstration in Warren County simulates wastecan fire. Within seconds, the curtain hanging over the paper fire had been fully engulfed. Seconds later, it would be totally extinguished by the sprinkler system. Express-Times file photo by Tony Iannitell. 
To the Editor:
I want to applaud local contractor Brad Harber, cited in the article, for installing sprinkler systems in his model homes to educate consumers on fire safety and prevention. I would also like to address several misconceptions about fire sprinklers that were presented in the article.
While smoke detectors are key in alerting occupants of fire, they are also a reactive form of fire protection, and can only save those who are able to react. Fire sprinklers are the only proactive form of fire protection, providing firefighters the time they need to do their jobs as safely and effectively as possible, and helping to avoid potential tragedies and severe structural damage.
Additionally, new lightweight construction methods and materials are making it harder and more dangerous for firefighters to safely extinguish blazes and for occupants to escape safely. Most homes built within the past 20 years contain these dangerous lightweight materials. While they are touted as being more cost-effective and environmentally friendly, they also allow fires to spread much more quickly.
The legislation in question, A-1570, was passed by the Assembly in January. This bill, and a recently introduced Senate version (S-2273), would make it mandatory for all newly constructed one- and two-family homes, as well as condominiums and townhomes, to be equipped with fire sprinkler systems.
Properly installed and maintained fire sprinklers control and typically extinguish a fire before the fire department even arrives on the scene.
The average cost of the installation of a fire sprinkler system in new construction is 1.61 cents a square foot.
How prepared would you be if fire struck where you live? Fire sprinklers save lives.
David Kurasz
Vice Chairman
New Jersey Fire Sprinkler Coalition
Editor’s note: The New Jersey Fire Sprinkler Coalition, which supports the legislation, is made up of fire sprinkler contractors, firefighters and other fire safety advocates.

Friday, March 29, 2013

CFD: Sprinklers stop King Street apartment fire

from abcnews

Posted: Mar 29, 2013 2:16 PM PDTUpdated: Mar 29, 2013 2:16 PM PDT
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - A fire Thursday night at the PalaceApartments on upper King Street in downtown Charleston was contained by the building's sprinkler system, fire officials said.
According to the Charleston Fire Department, the resident was cooking when a fire started on the stove. The resident tried to put the fire out with water to no avail. The fire began to spread, officials said, which triggered the sprinkler system.
When firefighters arrived around 10:20 p.m., they found that the sprinklers had contained the fire to the kitchen.
"The fire sprinkler system is a critical component in the life safety system of this property," said Fire Marshal Mike Julazadeh. "In this case, a single fire sprinkler head operated and controlled the fire event until the fire department could arrive and mitigate any remaining hazards."
Julazadeh said if the sprinklers, the fire could have spread to multiple apartments and displaced several families instead of the minimal smoke and fire damage in one kitchen.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

New Survey Finds Americans Misjudge Fire Safety Risks


A recent nationwide survey conducted by Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE) revealed that 65 percent of Americans feel safer from the dangers of fire at home. Only 10 percent feel safer in a commercial or public building.

"This is an alarming misconception," said Chris Jelenewicz, SFPE’s program manager. "Actually, fires in dwellings account for the majority of life loss due to fire."

Federal government statistics report that in 2011, residential fires resulted in 2,450 deaths and 13,900 injuries. Non-residential building fires resulted in 80 deaths and 1,100 injuries.

Additionally, the survey revealed that 57 percent of Americans believe changes in materials used for furnishings and building materials over the last 25 years make them feel safer in their homes. At the same time only 4 percent of the respondents felt less safe.

"This is another misconception," said Jelenewicz. "In fact, research has demonstrated that at least in North America, changes in materials used for furnishings, building materials and components, and construction methods have resulted in the potential for an increased level of hazard from an accidentaldwelling fire."

In order to reduce the loss of life from residential fires, the use of engineered components, systems and technologies such as smoke alarms, fire sprinklers, improved safety controls on cooking and heating appliances, and improved fire-safe material technologies can significantly reduce the fire hazard within residential structures and thereby reduce the loss of life from residential fires.

"Many people do not recognize the important role systems engineered by fire protection engineers play in protecting our families from fire in the home," said Jelenewicz. "When properly installed and maintained, these systems can significantly improve your chances of surviving a fire in the home."

Jelenewicz offers the following recommendations to protect you from fires in the home:

    Make sure a smoke alarm is installed on every level of your home, including the basement.
    When installing smoke alarms, always follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions.
    Test your smoke alarm monthly.
    The combination of working smoke alarms and home fire sprinklers reduces the likelihood of death from fire by more than 80 percent. So consider installing home fire sprinklers in your home.
    Always use cooking equipment that is tested and approved by a recognized testing facility.
    Follow manufacturers' instructions and code requirements when installing and operating cooking equipment.
    Have your furnace inspected by a heating professional regularly to ensure that it is in good working condition.

For more results on the survey, contact

Friday, March 22, 2013

Fire marshal wants sprinklers inside homes


Ed Note: My first week in the residential fire sprinkler business brought a call from the Montclaire fire department, wanting me to verify that it costs five thousand dollars per house that the building industries had asserted to the city council. "Not one third of that" I replied. Puzzled, I asked ; why would they lie?  
His reply was passionate: "Because they do not carry out the charred bodies". Enough said. Ever since, I have found these type of arguments self serving and naive. 

Fire marshal wants sprinklers inside homes

Posted: Mar 22, 2013 1:50 PM PDTUpdated: Mar 22, 2013 3:11 PM PDT
Cape Coral officials are preparing to debate family safetyagainst a struggling economy. An ordinance would require single-family homes to be installed with a sprinkler system.
They're proven to save lives, but a local Realtor says the proposal will smother the recovering construction business.
Typically, you’ll find Phil Green fighting fires in Estero. But lately he's been in Cape Coral fighting for another cause.
“You are safer at a shopping mall, a theater, a restaurant because all of those places are sprinklered,” said Green, an Estero Fire Marshal.
He, along with the Cape's fire marshal, hopes to mandate fire sprinklers in new home construction there.
“Eighty-five percent of homes that are sprinklered one head will extinguish the fire,” Green said.
The ordinance is simple. It would require newly constructed single family and duplex homes like this one to have fire sprinklers installed.
“There are only five communities in all of Florida - Cape Coral would be number six,” said Green.
Council will consider it Monday. Green says he believes leaders will pass it in two weeks. Then he'll move toward making sprinklers a requirement in new construction in Lee County.
“I think it would send a message across the state how important the county thinks residents are,” Green said.
But those within the Lee County construction industry are fighting it.
“I think it would be a grave mistake to mandate fire sprinklers,” said politician and Realtor Gary Aubuchon.
He says he believes it should be up to the homeowner and that requiring sprinklers will mean more money to build a new home.
“If this gained any momentum at all the Florida Legislature would step in,” Aubuchon said.
With that, Green says he'll fight even harder.